Turning into an addict ?

Is it just me are is anyone else concerned that they are addicted to pain meds?

I've been on morphine patches for a couple of weeks and it occured to me how easy it would be to just stay on them as pain relief is good.I've been on codeine tablets for a few years and strongly suspect i'm already reliant on them - it's just easier to pop a pill rather than putting up with pain.I have tried Tens etc but have had no real benefit.

I don't know why i worry so much - rhuemy says take them,i need them to be able to manage day to day but theres always a nagging doubt at the back of my mind !!!

Oh well time to pop on a new patch!

Julie x

14 Replies

Hi Julie

I'm on morphine patches too, don't they work well lol, unfortunately you do end up hooked to them and what I try to do is reduce the amount of use as when not doing too bad I only have the one 20 mg patch but when I'm really suffering, as I am now I put an extra one on.

I do this also to get a few extra patches just in case a patch comes off or gets damaged then I always have a spare one to put on because cold turkey is bloody bad, it only happened the once and I thought to myself , there's no way I'm going through that again BUT I cant take the pain without using the patches either so it is a crazy crazy circle,

Take care and remember your not alone, we are all here for you,



Im on morphine tablets and take 60mg morning 70mg evening and on bad days have to top up with oramorph or another 10mg pill

Ive tried reducing but its very rare pain is any lower to be able to cope, this level dosnt take my pain away completly just alows me to get on with my day the best I can, but I do worry I am or could become addicted!


The patches deliver 20 mg every hour and they last for 7 days, I almost forgot about the fibro pains but I always say if it help then use it. Are the tablets just as addictive as the patches?



My patches are for 72 hours - slow release

Glad i'm not the only one who worries about being addicted !

Julie x


I can't take morphine in patches or tablets,they make me really crazy.It seems they don't agree with me. I must admit i sit here and sometimes wish i could throw the whole in the bin. I try to take pain meds morning and night but more often than not i take some during the day.

I hope you all slept well.



Oooooh Morphine patches - i feel jealousy and a trip to the doctors coming on. I haven't got those YET. Totally agree about the reliance (or if you prefer addiction) on the pain relief. I enjoy taking my drugs far too much but then i think i have no alcohol, no cigarettes, very little debauchery so i am not worried about my codeine, tramadol, steroids etc. And the most important thing is the temporary relief from pain. emmm drugs.


hi all i need pain killers to hit me hard when ra flairs up so i don't take pain relief all the time only when it is totally unbearable and nessesery . i was told by my doctor only take the Tramadol when it is bad to get the most benefit.



I concur whole heartedly. There are some mornings that if I don't take cocodomols I cannot get out of bed. If I feel any pain coming on I take them, if I know I am going to being doing something that will cause me pain, I take them before hand. Not ashamed to say I do like them, dependecy maybe, but I prefer pain relief to pain any day. Not heard of morph patches or pain relief. Glad to know they are avaiable, as they sound like the way to go for the future, when cocodomols are no longer effective!

RA warrants effective strong pain relief to combat it at times, to enable us to live as near a normal life as possible.

Sci x


I have had spinal problems for the past 17 months and the pain from that has been unbearable at times. I have to take dihydrocodeine and Tramadol for that pain, (I used to just take co-codamol for RA pain). I have cut my dose down to twice a day of these pills but I have noticed that if I miss my evening dose I feel quite jittery and cannot get to sleep.

I have spoken to my GP and to my RA consultant and they both said that they are not worried as I have to take these pills at the moment and they will deal with any problems when they have to! In fact my GP said she would rather see me on these painkillers than diclofenac.

So, I am adopting the same attitude. I know I will have to come off them slowly as once I tried to drop them altogether in one go and was very sick for about 4 days - vomiting, the runs, sweating, the lot!



My rheumy's advice has been 'when there is a cure for RA, then we'll worry about any dependency - you need adequate pain relief to have a better quality of life'.

The reasons that we take these drugs are different to those who take street drugs to escape a trauma or difficult emotional reality or emotional pain. You can have a physical dependency without a psychological addiction. The physical dependency can be reduced by gradually reducing the dosage over a decent amount of time (as with steroids] - a psychological addiction is harder to deal with because it means confronting the reasons why you became addicted in the first place.

So worry not, if you go into remission and are largely pain free you'll be able to taper these drugs off with medical support, gradually - stopping any strong drug abruptly will have negative consequences.

I step-up and step-down according to levels of inflammation and pain. This can range from a combo of paracetemol and ibuprofen 3x a day plus 50mg Tramadol at night [SR} to 200mg Tramadol x 3 or Oramorph when in extremis:-( Stepping-down the dosage when the pain is more manageable helps more effective pain relief from a higher dose when it is needed.

We're all individual, with individual disease processes and pain levels. All I would say is if you're not especially in pain and find yourself still wanting to take strong medication then consider the reasons why you may be wanting to feel 'floaty and detached' and get some professional, emotional support through counselling or therapy to examine why.

Cece x


Like your rheumys advice,that sounds sensible. Drugs keep us going,why worry about something that can't be changed. We'll need these drugs to keep us stable.



Julie, Your Rheumy knows the answer to that, so he told you to just take them.

The answer I've gotten, and many times read, the theory is, it is very unlikely you can get addicted to pain pills when you have pain and need them.

my GP once said, "So what?".

As long as they are doing the job and allowing you to function better, then addiction is not there.

I'd suggest, don't worry about it. The idea is to stop pain and be more active.

It is even better to keep your meds on a time schedule and prevent bad pain before it takes hold. Then you still suffer until the pain meds kick in, usually an hour or so after taking them. Remember an old addage " An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure :) Good luck!


I'm addicted to my sleeping pills but not any pain meds yet. I cannot sleep without a pill.


There was a really good article on addiction and pain meds that Kelly put on RA Warriors, easy to understand as well, here's the link for you

As a nurse I know the problem well for my patients and now experiencing chronic pain has given me a better understanding and empathy with them.

I know the sleeping one! My doctor gave me Amytriptiline, just a low dose which I can increase, it makes me feel a bit groggy on a morning but if taken early on an evening, when needed, this effect is much reduced. We use it in orthopaedics with people with chronic back and nerve pain but it really helps my poor old feet and my neck when they are causing a problem



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